By Lily L. Tsai

This ebook examines the elemental factor of ways electorate get govt officers to supply them with the roads, colleges, and different public providers they want via learning groups in rural China. In authoritarian and transitional structures, formal associations for containing govt officers in charge are usually susceptible. the reply, Lily L. Tsai came across, lies in a community's social associations. even if formal democratic and bureaucratic associations of responsibility are vulnerable, govt officers can nonetheless be topic to casual principles and norms created by means of group solidary teams that experience earned excessive ethical status locally.

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Extra info for Accountability Without Democracy: Solidary Groups and Public Goods Provision in Rural China

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The literature on social capital and civil society is rich in theories about how social norms and networks can overcome the first problem. 22 22 See, for example, Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, 173–4; Carles Boix and Daniel Posner, “Social Capital: Explaining Its Origins and Effects on Government Performance,” British Journal of Political Science 28, no. , Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985).

The social groups that the model of informal accountability identifies as beneficial to governmental performance can therefore differ significantly from the ones identified by theories of civil society and social capital. The category of solidary groups can include groups that are supposedly “traditional” – clans, tribes, temple groups, community festival groups, and community self-help groups – as well as groups considered “modern,” such as public advocacy groups, philanthropic organizations and charities, and environmental groups.

Village expenditures – on public projects or otherwise – were supposed to be funded primarily from revenue generated within the locality. Since all subsidies to village governments were ad hoc, the minority of villages that relied on subsidies from higher levels lived a kind of hand-to-mouth existence. Out of the 316 villages that I surveyed in 2001, 59 percent reported that they did not receive any funding from higher levels of government in 2000. Another 23 percent reported that funding from higher levels made up less than half of their total revenue in 2000.

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